Walk Slowly

By Melanie Kauffman

In 2011, I found myself working at a dog boarding facility. After three years there, I have many, many stories, but one of my favorites is how God brought me wisdom through a border collie mix named Delilah. Delilah was very old: her eyes were cloudy, her fur was dull, and her movements were stiff. And yet for some reason, on the chart hanging on her kennel door, someone had written in big capital letters, “WALK SLOWLY.”

The reason for this soon became apparent, for the moment Delilah was out of her kennel, she tried to run down the hallway at full speed. The problem was that in her old age she lacked traction and balance, and it was clear that if I didn’t slow her down she would fall. Naturally, I had a one-sided conversation with Delilah every time I took her out. “You need to walk slowly dear, or you’re going to fall. I know you want to run, but you really shouldn’t. Please listen, we know what’s best for you.”

Then one day it occurred to me … how often does God tell me to walk slowly, and I ignore him as Delilah ignored me? I can’t see what’s written on my own chart; I don’t know what’s best for me. So why don’t I listen? God wants to have a conversation, but I’d rather be a border collie sprinting blindly down the nearest hallway at top speed.

Just this morning I was in a rush to get to work, and while I had enough time to stop and buy some snacks, I was still stressing out. Then on my way out to my car, I noticed a woman walking her dogs across the parking lot. One of the dogs looked pretty old, and he was walking contentedly beside his owner at a leisurely pace. Why someone would choose to walk their dogs across a grocery store parking lot at 7:30 in the morning is beyond me, but I take it as a sign from God. It’s not my feet that need to slow down, but my heart. Only then will I be able to discern these things he’s trying to teach me so that I may walk in a way that honors him.